Watch what convicts have to say to new inmates about sexual abuse. Shocking ?
Called Ending Sexual Abuse Behind the Walls: An Orientation the stunning video has been published on The Marshall Project (a nonprofit organization focused on the US criminal-justice system) Youtube page. It allows us to hear convicts openly speaking about rape in prison. The film is to be shown as a tutorial video to all new inmates in all prisons in the State of New York and is presented as “a message from the Commissioner of New York State Corrections and Community Supervision.”
An “overwhelming experience, especially if it’s your fist time,” Timothy Parsell is directing the film and he talks about his personal experience as a convict back in 1978, when he was gang-raped after a few hours in the facility.
“We spoke to dozens of current and former inmates. Men and women who have served their time in New York State,” Parsell says. Despite of years of professed “zero tolerance” by the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, the open acknowledgment that sexual violence in prisons is an ongoing reality impressed a lot, as Vice.com is reporting.
How to avoid sexual abuse and what to do if you are abused or threatened of sexual abuse and harassment is the object of this video aimed to new inmates of New York prisons.
I was scared to death, I was a newbie,” they say. “Everybody was a predator.
Bunch of guys throwing you in the cell and raping you … those days … thankfully, it’s the past. Subtle manipulations is what’s prevailing today (…)
It’s a process of trickery and manipulation and pure pressure.
They gradually groom you.
Person’s treating you making you feel like … you owe him.
Convicts talk about how they were approached by inmates during their first moments in the facility. How those inmates managed to manipulate them, use their fear and ignorance to make them wanting their friendship, “gaining a trust factor” as one of the man says. And how that friendship turned into a rape.
Working out is part of life in prison. Choose your work out partners carefully. These are strong guys.
If you feel uncomfortable, say something ... and find another work out partner.
“What specific advice would you give to an inmate coming in for the first time?” Asks the director to those present and former convicts.
Initially trust no one.
Trust has to be earned.
Be careful with who you’re friends with.
Guard your privacy, about your family, your letters … particularly problems or your sexual history.
Incredibly open advice about the prison’s shower is given. Convicts simply say: always shower with underclothes on, never have a conversation with a person in an adjacent shower and stay focused on your business. Predators see showers has an opportunity. Never accept a soap from another prisoner. Those are signs of a predator that’s getting too close, and so on.
Beside the shower, other advice:
Don’t take the candy bar that will be laying on your bed someday. Because if you eat it, it may cause you a debt that you can’t pay back. If someone offers you something, always ask yourself what’s the reason.
Do not gamble and do not use drugs. You think you know how to gamble. But you don’t know you’re being set up.
Don’t be afraid to tell someone that you feel that your life is in danger sounds more like the message from the Commissioner than from the inmates. It’s powerful though.
If you say nothing, that will look like a green light to keep doing.
The film ends with advice about protection of evidence and disease protection in case sexual violence does occur.
As a police officer in charge of recruitment and public relations, I am totally impressed by how honest, open and straight to the point that video is. I would like to dare to publish such well written material.
But some critics say that sexual abuse committed by staff members is not mentioned, whereas male inmates are more likely to be sexually victimized by them. They also say that such an effort will be useless without actions taken from the administration to secure their facilities with cameras.
More about prison on The Good Men Project.